Jay Feliciano Leads Offense as Brewers Hang on for 8-7 Victory
The Helena Brewers returned home Saturday night, after splitting a four-game series in Billings. After falling behind the Missoula Osprey 3-0, Helena scored eight unanswered runs, then saw a wild ninth pull the visitors within one before finally closing it out. Jay Feliciano led the way with a home run in his second straight game and added 3-runs and 2-RBI and Chad McClanahan drove in four, as the Brewers were the winners, 8-7.
After a scoreless first two innings, the Osprey took the lead with three-runs in the top of the third. Joel Novas led off the frame with a walk and Francis Martinez followed with a line drive single to left. Novas went for third on the play and Martinez advanced to second on the throw. A ground out brought home Novas, and Martinez came home on a two-out single by Eduardo Diaz. Luis Lara moved Diaz to third with a base hit, and he scored on a passed ball to make it 3-0.
Tyler Vail had kept the Helena bats silent through the first four-innings, but the Brewers would cut the deficit to one in the fifth. Jay Feliciano led off the inning by hitting his fourth home run of the season over the left field wall. Zach Clark followed with a double and moved to third on a ground out. With two down, Franly Mallen lined a single into left field that scored Clark to make it 3-2.
In the seventh, the Brewers took the lead. Feliciano got the rally started again by drawing a walk to lead off the inning. Clark laid down a perfect sacrifice that moved Feliciano to second. A wild pitch moved him to third. McClanahan then grounded to second. The second baseman fired home to try to nail Feliciano, but the catcher was unable to handle the throw. Feliciano scored and McClanahan reached on the fielder’s choice. Mallen drove him home with his second two-out hit of the game and Helena was leading 4-3.
One inning later, the Helena Brewers took what looked like a commanding lead. Nic Pierre singled to start the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice by Antonio Pinero. Dallas Carroll walked and Gabriel Garcia was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Feliciano then drew a walk to drive home Pierre and extend the lead to two. Jhoendri Herrera relieved and retired Clark, but McClanahan followed with a double to the wall in right field. All three runners came around to score and extend the lead to five.
Parker Bean had come on for the Brewers in the eighth and had tossed a 1-2-3 inning, but he found himself in some serious trouble in the ninth. Four straight hits got Missoula right back into the game. Eduardo Diaz singled to start the inning and he moved to third on a double by Luis Lara. Andy Yerzy singled to score both runners, and he came home on a home run by Juan Araujo, his second homer of the year. It was suddenly a one-run game, but Bean remained cool, getting the final three outs for his second save of the season.
Jay Feliciano finished the game 1-2 with 3-runs and 2-RBI. Franly Mallen was 2-3 with 2-RBI and McClanahan drove in 4. Eduardo Diaz led the Osprey going 2-4 with 2-runs and an RBI.
Game 2 of this three-game series is Sunday afternoon. The Brewers send RHP Rodrigo Benoit (1-2, 5.73) to the mound against Missoula RHP Luis Madero (2-1, 4.24). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05.
By Robert Pannier